Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Video: Turning A Massive Touchscreen Display Into a Multitouch Microscope

Source: http://www.popsci.com/science/article/2011-03/video-turning-massive-touchscreen-display-multitouch-microscope

Mashing web-based virtual microscopy and a massive multi-touch display surface, Finnish researchers have created a new interface for laboratory science that allows researchers to pan and zoom around a microscope sample via a tabletop or wall-mounted touchscreen, zooming in so close that sub-cellular details can be seen.

Given the fact that the minimum size for the screen is 46 inches--and it can be much larger, like the size of a conference table or even an entire wall--the device is capable of making the very small very large. The multitouch surface can recognize the touches of several different people at the same time, adding a whole new dimension to collaborative science and lab instruction.

This isn't just an overblown iPad app--files can be up to 200 gigabytes, so there's some real computing power backing the multitouch microscope. But from a technology standpoint, it's not so very complex. Samples are digitized using a microscopy scanner and put onto a server from which the touchscreen device continuously receives them over the Web.

From there, an entire group can stand around a massive visualization of a sample, swiping, zooming, and otherwise manipulating it intuitively and without any kind of serious training. We'll always be a bit nostalgic for the old days when we stained our own slides in chem lab, but it's hard to argue that a wall-sized, multitouch microscope isn't extremely cool.

[Eurekalert]

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